Guest blogger, Dr. Deb Douglas, is the Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA . She wrote this article our of her own experience with women in her church who have had an abortion. Be sure to watch the web cast recordings of Surrendering the Secret Part 1 & 2 with Pat Layton as you reach out to these hurting women.
Women with post-abortion trauma may already be in your church, or they could be seeking help in your community, and maybe yours is the church to which they turn. If God is leading you toward reaching out to these women in particular, here are some tips to guide you in this ministry. Pray, asking God to direct your steps in understanding the hearts of women experiencing post-abortion trauma.
· Make a commitment to be a part of the healing and reconciliation process in the lives of women who have had an abortion.
· Invite a post-abortive woman who has dealt with and overcome the guilt, shame, and consequences of abortion to speak at a specific women’s event. Contact your local Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) for names of speakers in your area.
· Educate yourself on post-abortive syndrome.
· Begin one-on-one ministering to any women in your church struggling with this, pairing women who struggle with post-abortive syndrome and mature Christian women in your church.
If you haven’t looked at the topic of abortion in-depth, now’s the time to do a little research. But even more importantly, if you haven’t examined your own attitudes toward those who have had abortions, now is the time to look at those too. Ask God to prepare your heart to reach out to these ladies.
Four key steps to take as you prepare to minister are:
1. Analyze personal feelings and convictions toward abortion.
2. Realize many women have abortions without realizing the consequences of their actions.
3. Recognize we have all sinned.
4. Understand abortion causes long-term effects.
Not only do you need to know more about abortion itself, but you also must consider the effects it has on women who have abortions. Become informed of the effects of abortion so you can be sensitive to the needs of these women. This doesn’t have to be a dissertation – even a quick search on the Internet results in a wealth of information.
Equip Other Women to Serve
If your women’s ministry is developing specific efforts to reach out to post-abortive women, you can’t bear that burden alone. Educate the ladies in your church on how they can help.
· Keep the women of the church informed by making up-to-date information on post-abortion trauma and the effects of abortion available.
· When appropriate and possible, privately ask women who have had abortions to share their testimonies publicly with your ladies.
· Plan a women’s ministry trip to the National Memorial for the Unborn in Chattanooga, Tenn.
· Develop a relationship with a local CPC. Discover what services and help are offered for women dealing with post-abortion trauma.
· Involve women in opportunities to minister in the crisis pregnancy field. For example, you could participate in Walk for Life, take part in CPC fund-raising and banquets, and lead Bible studies.
· Have a baby shower or diaper collection for the local CPC.
A Final Note
All this may look fairly predictable from a distance, but if you’ve never known someone who has had an abortion and has struggled with post-abortion trauma, it may hit you harder than you anticipate. That’s why you must go back to the foundation of prayer.Pray that God would prepare you to serve these ladies with genuine love and compassion. Try not to look shocked when women with post-abortion syndrome share. And remember, you don’t have to minister alone. Don’t be afraid to encourage ladies to seek professional post-abortion counseling.Be patient with these ladies, as healing and grieving take time. Listen with sympathy and compassion. Remind women that God forgives. Encourage women by sharing Scripture as the Lord leads you. Stay in constant communication with Him, and let Him minister to others through your willing heart.
Dr. Deb Douglas, is the Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA and also serves as one of our Lifeway Ministry Multipliers. Deb launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is the Minister to Women at FBC Bossier City and a conference/retreat speaker, strategic planning consultant, and freelance writer. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, and mother-in-law to Emily.